As the final whistle rang around the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, there was an obvious feeling of disappointment surrounding the Slovakian camp. A game which was expected to supply a routine three points – three points that would have seen them leapfrog holders Italy and South Americans Paraguay – ended in a share of the spoils with minnows New Zealand.
All three points would have been a considerable boon to the Slovaks’ chances in South Africa, with the other Group F tie also ending in a draw. “This is a minor sporting tragedy for us. We were the better team over the course of the game. It’s a pity we didn’t take our chances,” Coach Vladimir Weiss told journalists after the game.
Slovakia did have the better of a dull encounter in Rustenburg. Chance were few and far between with for both sides, with no player really making an impact, although captain Marek Hamsik’s movement looked a constant threat for the Repre in a forgettable first half. With just five minutes of second passage played, Slovakia finally broke the deadlock through Robert Vittek, when a Stanislav Sestak cross from the right was met by the Ankarag